The Extended Studies and Workforce Education division of Norwalk Community College will be offering an Entrepreneurs Institute course this spring to help participants research, prepare and launch a business of their own.
The course brings together successful entrepreneurs and experienced professionals to guide participants in how to develop and launch a sustainable business, regardless of industry.
They learn the secrets to building a successful business while avoiding the common pitfalls for business failure. Participants leave the course with a well-defined business plan, a compelling pitch and a clear vision for the path ahead.
Theresa Claire won the 2013 Stamford Startup Weekend competition, but did not know how to build a business. She enrolled in the NCC Entrepreneurs Institute in the summer of 2015 to learn about entrepreneurship in a structured way.
Her instructor, Dr. Tom Failla, walked the class through the Kauffman FastTrac entrepreneurial training curriculum and expert speakers provided perspectives on topics related to building a business.
“I came to the course with a fairly well established business idea, following work on business formation and product development, but I needed to figure out a path to sales,” Theresa said.
“The program helped me answer the tough questions that I was either too afraid to ask or didn’t know how to ask. Each week of the course, I was forced to address reality checks like cash flow for my business, understanding my market and making sales projections. Entrepreneurs can be notoriously optimistic which is a good thing, but this course also gave me a healthy dose of skepticism to help steer clear of making big mistakes.”
She adds that she really enjoyed the camaraderie of the fellow entrepreneurs in her class. “It was fun to hear passionate people tell their stories, learn from one another and see the progress each participant made each week as we encouraged one another on our journeys.”
Several years ago, Theresa began an e-commerce business called Mixed Emotions that helps kids feel happier, healthier and more successful using products such as card games that teach emotional intelligence.
The card game is fast, easy and fun and teaches kids emotional intelligence. The game is available on Amazon and online, here.
Theresa still uses some valuable takeaways from the NCC course in her business today.
“I re-evaluate my business plan every six to 12 months and use the knowledge gained in the Entrepreneurs Institute course to keep my goals and vision in-line with reality,” she said.
The program, started by the Entrepreneurship Task Force of the Norwalk Community College Foundation, has been offered for the past several summers by the NCC Foundation and is now available through Extended Studies for the first time.
This year’s 12-week course through Extended Studies begins March 27 and is taught by Steve Mersereau, CPA and MBA. Sessions run on Tuesday and Thursday, from 6-9 p.m. Tuition is $399.